Books ... rarely, if ever, talk about what children can make of themselves, about the powers that from the day or moment of birth are present in every child.
It's a most serious mistake to think that learning is an activity separate from the rest of life, that people do it best when they are not doing anything else and best of all in places where nothing else is done. p.278
Much of what we call History is the success stories of madmen.
Not long after the book came out I found myself being driven to a meeting by a professor of electrical engineering in the graduate school I of MIT. He said that after reading the book he realized that his graduate students were using on him, and had used for the ten years and more he had been teaching there, all the evasive strategies I described in the book — mumble, guess-and-look, take a wild guess and see what happens, get the teacher to answer his own questions, etc. But as I later realized, these are the games that all humans play when others are sitting in judgment on them.
It's not that I feel that school is a good idea gone wrong, but a wrong idea from the word go. It's a nutty notion that we can have a place where nothing but learning happens, cut off from the rest of life.
It is hard not to feel that there must be something very wrong with much of what we do in school, if we feel the need to worry so much about what many people call 'motivation'. A child has no stronger desire than to make sense of the world, to move freely in it, to do the things that he sees bigger people doing.